Mayor cell keeps living areas safe and clean for Soldiers
Story and photo by Sgt. John Stimac
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — Although the time is quickly approaching for the Soldiers of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) to re-deploy home to Oregon, the mayor cell at logistics support area Anzio on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, must continue its mission until all Soldiers have left theater.
The mayor cell is responsible for the safety of all Soldiers and civilians staying in the LSA and must respond to any incidents there.
Master Sgt. Kelly V. Ramer, the assistant to the mayor with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 141st Brigade Support Battalion, 41st IBCT and a McMinnville, Ore., native, said he maintains accountability of personnel assigned to the containerized housing units on LSA Anzio.
"We take care of whoever lives in Anzio," he said. "Right now we are monitoring dumpsters to make sure the Soldiers are maintaining operational security."
Ramer said the monitoring must be done because, with so many Soldiers getting ready to leave the LSA and cleaning out their CHUs, some have thrown sensitive military items, such as ammunition, in the dumpsters.
Ramer said he also assists contactors who need to enter Soldiers' rooms for maintenance issues.
"Whenever someone has an issue with their CHU, we go and open the room up," he said. "We stay until the maintenance is done. This is so there is always a military escort present at all times while contractors are in their rooms."
To make their living areas feel more like home, Ramer said he also put together a self-help center at the LSA, where Soldiers can build desks and patio equipment.
"We acquired tools, electric saws and wood from the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, and all branches of service are welcome to use them," he said. "I am just there to ensure their safety while the equipment is being used."
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Edwin H. Puderbaugh, the mayor of LSA Anzio, with HHC, 141st BSB, 41st IBCT, said he oversees the daily operations at the LSA.
He said he performs safety inspections and coordinates with the labor department for contracted work in the LSA.
Puderbaugh, a Clatskanie, Ore., native, said in addition to maintaining the records and population density of the LSA, he also keeps a roster of all the temporary personnel assigned there.
"We have 30 temporary CHUs here at the LSA," he said. "We've had as many as 70 occupants at one time, to as low as six occupants staying (here)."
Puderbaugh said he also polices the area daily to monitor for vandalism and graffiti.
"Most of the junior enlisted Soldiers are very good about picking up after themselves," he said. "I have three rules: Do what you're told, don't lie and pick up after yourself. If you abide by all three of those rules, you will be fine."
Aside from CHU maintenance, the mayor cell must assign rooms at all hours when visitors arrive from different bases.
"Most of the flights coming into Al Asad are in the middle of the night, so whoever is on call must go to the billeting office and get that Soldier a room," he said. "Sometimes this happens two or three times a night."
Puderbaugh, a 37-year veteran of the Army, said these Soldiers are some of the finest he has ever met.
"They have reaffirmed my belief that people who volunteer for the military are our future," he said. "It's now time for me to step aside and start looking forward to my retirement."
Master Sgt. Kelly V. Ramer, the mayor's assistant at logistics support area Anzio with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 141st Brigade Support Battalion, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a McMinnville, Ore., native, gathers unusable uniforms left in the drop box to be incinerated March 16 at Al Asad Air base, Iraq.